Thanks for your counterpoint to the Derek Low article. I think that I fall somewhere in between your experiences. Last year I traveled across country by train, from DC to Southern California, via the northern route. I stayed in coach the entire time but got on and off the train, staying with friends and a few AirBnBs along the way. So it took me 6 weeks and I haven’t calculated the amount (sometimes ignorance is bliss). And it was wonderful!! I would highly recommend it. Yes, it requires patience because trains get delayed and definitely sometimes it is smelly and loud and uncomfortable but all in all it was great. And one important aspect that really deserves recognition was how friendly, helpful and courteous the Amtrak conductors were. It was especially appreciated as a contrast to a lot of air travel experience and as I was a solo, female traveler.